Etcher (1790 - 1857)
Architect and engraver, born in Ravenna on 15 December 1790, died in Rome on 22 April 1857. He studied in Bologna and Rome.
At first he helped Canova make drawings for the church of Possagno; he decorated a cabinet in the Palazzo Venezia for the Minister of Austria and the great ballroom of the Simonetti palace; he designed a round temple in the villa of the banker Silvestri in Ancona and performed other works.
Meanwhile, his fame as an engraver had begun to make headway: his first prints, which reproduced some perspective studies of the Basilica of St. Peter and some views of Campo Vaccino and the Colosseum, had recalled on him the attention of amateurs.
In 1818 his first work was published in Rome, entitled: Collection of fifty main views of antiquities taken from excavations in Rome. Encouraged by the good results of this, he published in 1820-23, in two volumes of 101 total plates, Roman antiquities, that is a collection of the most interesting views of ancient Rome. Followed at a short distance: The most interesting monuments of Rome from the sec. X to the XVIII (1828), The antiquities of Pompeii and Pesto (1830), The triumphal arches of the ancient Romans (1836), The picturesque journey from Rome to Naples (1839) and other minor works.
In all his engravings the imitation of Piranesi is evident, up to choosing in some views the same point of view, the same magnified perspective, the same spirit of elevation of the masses that increases the pictorial effect, the same lively contrast of lights and shadows. However in the last works there is a considerable change, namely a greater clarity of line, a refined exactness of perspective, an architectural fidelity that make his sign more rigid, and at times even staid and cold, almost unrecognizable from that of the first way, all impetus and movement. It follows that, if the artistic value is lower, the documentary value of his works of this second manner is vice versa.